Sat on this post for awhile because I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I'm still not positive. It's not a black-and-white issue. I also didn't want to turn what a heroic kid did into something about me. But I did want to share some stories from my own experience because I believe they convey a larger point, and I hope you'll get that. I think you will. You're smart folks.
That said, here's my best take on the whole situation with the Zangief Kid and whether or not victims should physically fight their bullies. (If you need clueing in: Zangief Kid is the dude who bodyslammed his bully down under in Australia, mate. Here’s a link to the video.)
I’m for it. There is a difference in fighting nobly, and just fighting, and defending yourself or someone else is never just fighting.
Back in seventh grade, before I grew eight inches—and muscles, and got popular after people realized I could actually play sports—I got bullied. That year, I was just happy to make the basketball team. Up until then, I was always just kind of a dork.
* I'll always remember my Little League coach joking with my parents about my 9-year-old tryouts. "This little kid walks out there with his big ol' glasses and I'm sitting there thinking, Oh, God, this kid's going to get killed.I told the guy to hit the grounders easy."
All I know is that somehow I made the all-star team at the end of the year. I was the only nine-year-old to do that. They must have been desperate for a backup catcher.
If there was a nerdy way to be an all-star, dude, I found it. Wearing my big, thick glasses, I smoked a grounder between third and short and scurried towards first. I say "scurried" because I took really short steps, which I had never done before. I saw this kid who was really fast run like that before the game, and I thought it would at least make me look fast. Instead, it made me trip, and I faceplanted right in the middle of the first baseline. Got thrown out.
We won by slaughter rule, but I cried.
So yeah, all that to say, I wasn't the toughest or meanest kid in seventh grade.